What is Subclinical Hypothyroidism?


Happy couple at home in kitchen.

Does it feel like weight loss is an uphill battle? That you’re always tired, you struggle to maintain your happiness, and you can’t remember things like you use to? It could be that you suffer from issues with your thyroid, also known as subclinical hypothyroidism. 

Subclinical Hypothyroidism is an Early & Mild Form of Hypothyroidism

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located at the front of your neck. It plays a vital role in producing thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH).THS supports your heart, brain, and metabolism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition during which your body doesn’t produce enough TSH. Subclinical hypothyroidism is an early and mild form of hypothyroidism. It’s deemed “subclinical” because the TSH levels aren’t low enough to be considered hypothyroidism.

In fact, it’s easy and even common for subclinical hypothyroidism to go undiagnosed. A 2009 study published by the Mayo Clinic revealed between three and eight percent of individuals suffer from subclinical hypothyroidism.

The risk factor for those who suffer from subclinical hypothyroidism is significant. Research suggests more than 26% of individuals with this early and mild form of low TSH develop full bowl hypothyroidism. 

What Causes Subclinical Hypothyroidism?

Both subclinical and full-bore hypothyroidism are linked to the same causes. These include:

  • Suffering an injury to the thyroid
  • A family history of autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Receiving radioactive iodine therapy
  • Taking medications that contain lithium or iodine
Happy older woman outside
Subclinical Hypothyroidism isn't easily diagnosed because they symptoms can often be so similar to those associated with other medical issues.

Symptoms of Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Potential subclinical hypothyroidism symptoms are the same as those who have full-bore hypothyroidism. These can include:

  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Goiter (swelling at the front of the neck)
  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty managing cold temperatures
  • Dry skin
  • A decreased heart rate
  • Slowed reflexes

However, it’s important to note that not all those suffering from subclinical hypothyroidism show symptoms. You can still be at risk of developing hypothyroidism when you aren’t suffering from any of these symptoms. 

Woman sitting at kitchen table and looking pensively outside.
When you're battling an undiagnosed medical condition, it can be incredibly frustrating. But there's hope. It is possible to treat Subclinical Hypothyroidism with bioidentical hormones.

Can You Have Thyroid Issues Your Traditional Practitioner Hasn’t Diagnosed?

It’s not uncommon that we hear patients say, “I have thyroid symptoms, but my general practitioner doesn’t agree.” Traditional western medicine determines hypothyroidism with a blood test that measures TSH levels.

If your blood work shows that your TSH is within a normal range — typically between 4.5mIU and 5.0mIU — doctors are often unwilling to acknowledge that you may be suffering from thyroid issues. And because the symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism are so similar to other medical issues, it’s easy for them to miss-diagnosed.

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How to Treat Thyroid Issues

Thyroid issues stem directly from a hormone imbalance. This means that diet and exercise can only do so much to combat the symptoms from which you suffer. However, bioidentical hormone therapy can help you correct these imbalances and restore your body to its ideal levels.

Some doctors will use synthetic hormones to try and correct these imbalances. The issue with synthetic hormones is that they do not match the TSH hormones your body naturally produces and can cause serious side-effects.

However, the 2011 research paper published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association concluded, “Bioidentical hormones that are approved by the FDA may be preferred over standard hormone replacement because of their physiologic benefits and safety profile.”

This high safety profile is due to the fact that bioidentical hormones mirror the chemical structure of your own TSH hormones. This lets your body can process them naturally — allowing your body to function naturally without suffering harmful side effects.

Will Treating Your Thyroid Issues Help You Lose Weight?

While there is no guarantee with any medical treatment, research suggests that hormone therapy can boost weight loss. A new study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in 2018 found women taking hormones had substantially less belly fat than those who weren’t.

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